Building Internet-connected robots in an easy way? CORE2 is the answer.

February 2015. Kickstarter campaign of „RoboCORE: the heart of your personal robot” has just started. RoboCORE promises that building consumer robots based on this platform will be much simpler and cheaper than using existing alternatives. 30 days later, with almost $60 000 and 311 backers, campaign is successfully ended. Further R&D, manufacturing, beta tests and RoboCOREs finally goes into the hands of robotic enthusiasts around the world. Since then, thanks to the feedback from hundreds of people, Husarion ecostystem for IoT in robotics has highly evolved and improved. Now this is a stable technology, used by universities, makers and developers. It was time to improve the device and make RoboCORE 2.0. So there it is, named Husarion CORE2: controller for automation & robotics.

 

Husarion CORE2          RoboCORE

Building Internet-connected products, especially if they aim is not only to store the data, but also to control physical things in real-time, is challenging. Husarion’s mission is to lower entry barrier for new ventures in the area of automation & robotics, as much as possible. They shouldn’t focus on technical issues, but on their customers’ problemssays Dominik Nowak, CEO of Husarion.

Many Kickstarter funded companies decide to launch the next generation of their products also on this platform. Husarion has a different attitude: they don’t promise the miracles, but they give technology that simply works.

If you order now, on the next day your CORE2 will be shipped to you, and all ‘how-to-start’ materials, hardware & software documentations are already available at docs.husarion.com.  
Husarion ecosystem overview:

What is special in Husarion’s product? It is not a single product, but a coprehensive solution for companies and developers who build various mechatronic Internet of Things products. Mechatronic means combinations of mechanics and electronics. This is a wider concept than robotics, beacuse apart from robotic lawnmower or telepresence robots, it also includes Internet-connected door lock, electric roller blinds etc.  

Husarion provides 3 elements for IoT mechatronic design:

  1. reference hardware, such as CORE2, RoboCORE and other available in the near future,
  2. cloud platform to control, update firmware, manage and share connected devices,
  3. programming framework to write a code that runs on hardware and communicate with a cloud.

The users have access to many examples, professional Real-Time OS based C++ 11 framework and versatile hardware, therefore building working prototype is a piece of cake.

Product is adressed not only to makers, but also for companies. They could use CORE2 to rapidly prototype  a preliminary design, and Husarion would help them to elaborate the prototype to mass production ready version. This way they would create the version of CORE2 suited for their product.

Husarion provides also an interface for people who don’t build robots, but just use them. By logging to cloud.husarion.com you can simply add a Husarion-powered device(e.g. made on CORE2) to your user account and see list of your devices:

When you click on device name in the cloud, you will be moved to the user interface specific for this device, created by robot vendor using Husarion framework. If you log into telepresence spy robot, you will see something like this:

If you log into your Husarion powered home automation system, it can look like this:

Husarion enables sharing of user’s devices. It can be done in two ways: by sharing with other cloud user or through the link. Especially the second option is convenient because you can easily give somebody the access to your robot without logging into Husarion cloud.

Husarion provides solution for makers, robot manufacturers, universities, and non-engineeres who want to play with controllable robots. Husarion’s platform is the first one of this kind on the market.


Husarion CORE2

General overview of Husarion ecosystem is described in the previous section. Now let’s dive deeper into Husarion CORE2 hardware details. Specification shown on https://docs.husarion.com/hardware/core2_1_0_0/index.html gives you a glimpse on what’s inside:

The unique feature of CORE2 hardware is a direct support for DC motors with quadrature encoders. Up to 4 motors can be connected at once, and Husarion framework is optimized to control them in real-time without wasting processing power of CPU. It could be done thanks to hardware encoder interface peripherals integrated into timers of STM32F4 microcontroller – the brain of Husarion CORE2. Motors are controlled by PID regulators implemented in background RTOS tasks, separate for each motor. In many professional applications the popular RC servos aren’t enough. Thanks to CORE2, you can easily convert any DC motor with encoder into servo-mechanism that works in accordance with your requirements. If built-in H-bridges don’t suffice, external power driver can be easily integrated.

CORE2 has also the interfaces that allow connecting almost every market-available sensor, or external electronic module. These interfaces are: UART, I2C, SPI, CAN, ADC, microSD card slot, USB host, GPIOs, ADCs, external interrupt inputs, and servo ports powered by built-in DC/DC converter with selectable voltage level.

There are two ways to develop software for CORE2:

  1. a) offline – using any IDE and SDK downloaded from https://husarion.com/downloads,
  2. b) online – using a Web IDE integrated to cloud.husarion.com.

Especially the second option is very comfortable, because it allows you to start writing code immediately, without struggles with configuring IDE, installing drivers etc.

Husarion team is doing their best to create comprehensible hardware and software documentation with a lot of examples and ready-to-use templates. They also opened public profile at hackster.io, where Husarion team and community share tutorials on how to use CORE2 in various IoT mechatronic projects.

Spy v. sPi by Dexter Industries


Dexter Industries launches a fun educational game that coaches kids to solve problems by challenging them to accomplish secret missions called Spy v. sPi. Dexter Industries, a growing U.S. educational robotics company developed Spy v. sPi, a capture-the-flag style engineering adventure that puts real purpose to basic design and programming skills. It can be played individually at home, or in teams in a classroom or a workshop. In it, every “spy” is assigned a series of missions, each requiring them to write code to control an assortment of sensors that will allow them to protect their “jewel” in different ways, or capture the “jewel” of a competing spy.

Spy v. sPi is based on the GrovePi, an easy-to-build robot kit that includes a rich collection of programmable, plug-and-play components — from sensors for things like distance, sound, light, and infrared, to buttons, buzzers and more. Thanks to the GrovePi’s combination of hardware and software, Spy v. sPi makes it easy to connect to a robot, start writing code, and get rewarding results right away.

We’ve developed Spy v. sPi’s missions with a full range of skills and experience in mind, so no prior programming or electronics experience is required. Each Spy will learn how to program the different sensors and components with step-by-step instructions, all while completing a mission. There are also missions for more advanced spies, and there’s no limit to how complex your solutions can get. Best of all, the entire program is designed by actual spies, so players will face real-life engineering challenges they’ll solve just like real spies do.
Spy v. sPi is designed for everyone — so we have two different programming languages you can use. Scratch is for beginners, and is a drag-and-drop programming language developed by MIT. Python is available for more advanced spies, and is an open source text-based programming language. The Missions are step-by-step instructions that first teach you the basics of Scratch and then help you move on to more advanced programming in Python.

Spy v. sPi Missions are activities in the form of a mission. Each spy will learn how to program the GrovePi and an assortment of sensors to accomplish different objectives, all within a story created by real spies! The Missions will come in a beautifully designed and illustrated full color printed booklet and online videos. It includes space to work on ideas and plan your solution to the challenge, as well as all the information you need to be a successful spy.

We believe the best way to learn is by doing — building something tangible to solve real world problems. Some learners thrive in a competitive environment, and for them, Spy v. sPi is perfect: you can play in teams or against an opponent. For solo learners or those that want a family game to play at home — some spies might want to equip their room with a spy device or alert them of entry by a sibling. Spy v. sPi Missions support both styles of learning and are fun for everyone! Learn more at dexterindustries.com/spy.

Pixel Pals Educational Electronics Kit – Integrated Learning Tool

Chip – the first in a line of beginner friendly products debuts on Kickstarter

Chip, a Pixel Pals educational electronics kit, is the first in a line of beginner friendly products that goes beyond learning soldering skills. He can be incorporated into Arduino based projects as well as using the Pixel Power board in e-textiles. The kits are designed to be multifunctional, yet affordable.


The first character, Chip featured in this Kickstarter campaign, focusses on LEDs and basic circuitry. Once soldered, it can standalone with the Pixel Power board and serve as a fun toy or light. Chip can also plug into an Arduino Uno Rev 3 or into a breadboard where Chip can be incorporated into more advanced electronic projects or programming lessons.

Soldering Sunday created the Pixel Pals soldering kits to fill the gap between introductory and advanced projects. Each Pixel Pal will focus on a particular electronics component which will require soldering; but are Arduino compatible so that they can be programmed for other projects are used.

The kits are also designed to be affordable for organizations and parents who want to encourage STEAM education but are hindered by the large price tag of many existing educational products. The Kickstarter campaign, if successful, will help keep the production costs down.

Kickstarter is an all or nothing proposition. Soldering Sunday hopes to reach its goal of $2,500 to cover mass production cost of the Chip, Pixel Pal Soldering kit. The project runs from
November 3 to December 3, 2014.

To keep up to date with the project, follow Soldering Sunday on Twitter (@SolderingSunday), Facebook (www.facebook.com/SolderingSunday) or on their website (www.solderingsunday.com)

Also consider visiting the project on Kickstarter (www.kickstarter.com/projects/solderingsunday/chip-an-electronics-kit-with-character) donating $1 on Kickstarter to receive updates.

SpacePI: Launching a BrickPi into near space

A few weeks back the guys at Dexter Industries completed their mission to launch a BrickPi, Raspberry Pi, and Raspberry Pi camera up into near space with a high altitude balloon.

 

More Information here.

Bricktronics Shield Kit – a NXT replacement Board (Arduino-Shield)

Bricktronics Shield Kit :: Wayne and Layne Store.

also see: http://www.wayneandlayne.com/bricktronics/downloads/